What is WeChat? Everything you need to know about the popular messaging app, including how to sign up

wechat ban trump order
WeChat is more than just a messaging app – you can also use it to make video and audio calls, translate text, and more.

  • WeChat is one of the world’s most popular social media messaging apps, and is similar to WhatsApp.
  • WeChat supports video, voice, and text chat and has unique features like localized translation.
  • To sign up for WeChat, an existing user will need to scan a QR code on your phone.
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With more than a billion monthly users, WeChat is one of the most popular social messaging apps in the world, especially in China.

No matter what country you’re in, WeChat is free to download  – but signing up for an account isn’t so easy.

What is WeChat?

Launched in 2011 and owned by Chinese tech giant Tencent, WeChat has grown from a messaging app to become a unique social media hybrid. Services like Facebook are banned in China, so WeChat is the standard for business and communication.


WeChat supports the basics like voice chatting, picture messaging, and video calling. You can also share your real-time location with friends, play mini-games with each other, and post to a Story-like feature called “moments.” 

It also has a feature called WeChat Out that lets you call international landlines at a low rate. This comes with a localization feature that will translate messages and content between 20 different languages. 

However, it’s not nearly as secure as other messaging apps like Signal or Telegram. This is especially the case in China, where certain topics are actively censored and Tencent shares user data with the government. The app doesn’t have any sort of encryption, meaning that your messages can be potentially intercepted and read by third-party groups.

WeChat is free to download for iPhone and Android users.

How to sign up for WeChat

Despite its popularity, signing up for WeChat isn’t as easy as making a username and password.

When you try to sign up, someone who already has an account will need to scan a QR code to verify you. If you don’t have someone to scan the code, you can’t open an account.

Here’s a more detailed step-by-step.

Now you can send messages using WeChat.

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What is Vanish Mode on Instagram? Here’s what you need to know about the platform’s disappearing messages feature

using phone messaging in bed late at night
Instagram’s Vanish Mode lets you send secret messages that disappear when you’re done chatting.

Not all messages are meant to live forever, or at least that’s the idea behind Instagram’s Vanish Mode, which lets you send temporary, self-destructing messages in a special chat mode.

It’s like Snapchat’s self-erasing messages, and only takes effect when you manually turn it on; otherwise, your messages are as permanent as ever.

Vanish Mode is a relatively new feature that debuted for Instagram users in late 2020. 

How to use Vanish Mode on Instagram

Vanish Mode is easy to turn on and off – here’s how.

1. Open the Instagram app and go to the chat page by tapping the “Chat” icon at the top right corner of the screen. 

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Start a chat in the usual way, by tapping the “Chat” icon at the top right of the screen.

2. Open an existing chat or use the “New Message” button at the top right to create a new chat. 

3. To start Vanish Mode, swipe up from the bottom of the screen and release.

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Swipe up from the bottom of the screen and release your finger to start Vanish Mode.

4. The screen will turn black and a bunch of “Shush” emojis will fall from the top of the screen to indicate you’re in Vanish Mode. Send your messages as usual. The recipient’s chat window will also be black, with a message on screen indicating that it’s in Vanish Mode. 

5. When you want to end Vanish Mode and go back to messaging as usual, tap “Turn Off Vanish Mode” at the top of the screen. Both you and the recipient will exit Vanish mode, but you’ll still be able to see the messages you sent in Vanish mode until you close the window. After that, they’ll be gone forever.

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To end Vanish Mode, just tap the button in the chat window. The messages will be erased when you close the window.

There are a couple things to keep in mind about Vanish Mode:

  • This mode only works for one-on-one messages. Vanish Mode does not work for chats with more than two people.
  • If someone takes a screenshot in Vanish Mode, the other person is notified immediately.

Related coverage from Tech Reference:

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